One of the biggest surprises to come from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9” was the launch of “Angel & Faith,” which brought readers into the world of the vampire with a soul and the Buffyverse’s resident outcast slayer. As original “Angel & Faith” creative team Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs move on to craft “Buffy Season 10,” it’s up to Victor Gischler and Will Conrad to shepherd Angel and Faith into the tenth official season of “Buffy.”
Debuting in April, Gischler & Conrad’s “Angel & Faith” casts Angel in the role of London’s Magic Town sheriff in the wake of the “Buffy Season 9” conclusion, as Faith continues her journey of self-discovery starting in California.
CBR news spoke with Gischler about his new role as “Angel & Faith” steward, how his experience with “Spike: A Dark Place” during “Season 9” and his plans for the oddest couple of the Buffyverse come April.
CBR News: Victor, you’ve got the big debut of “Angel & Faith: Season 10” coming up in April. Before jumping into your plans for the story, what initially drew you to the characters? What was their appeal in the comics verse for you?
Victor Gischler: I love all the characters from the Buffyverse. I’ve been a long time fan of their incarnations on television before it even entered my wildest dreams that I would actually be writing some of these characters. I guess I owe my wife some thanks for getting me hooked on the original TV series. I think what appeals most about the comics is that Dark Horse makes the best effort possible to make the comics an extension of the TV shows.
Historically, Angel is a character that needs purpose and direction. In “Buffy,” it was protecting the Slayer. In “Angel,” it was helping the helpless, and in Christos Gage’s “Angel & Faith,” it was bringing Giles back — but it all stems from his desire to atone for past sins. With his quest to bring Giles back completed, what will he do to atone during your run on “Angel & Faith?”
That’s actually one of the questions we address in the first arc. Angel feels a strong responsibility for a lot of last season’s fallout, and he steps up to do his best to take care of things. But it gets complicated. It’s not as simple as his saying, “I’m Angel and I’m here to stop the bad guys.” His new role is not a comfortable fit at first. I’m being vague, but I don’t want to get all spoilery. But yes, your questions are one of the big questions of the first story arc.
Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs were a huge part of establishing the book’s identity during its first incarnation. How will you and Will Conrad continue to evolve that identity during your planned arcs?
We’ll definitely be building on what Chris and Rebekah did. They left me with a lot of juicy things to play with — one of the big ones being Magic Town a section of London in which magic works in a way that it doesn’t anywhere else on Earth. The nature of magic is big for both books this season.
According to the solicits, Angel’s pretty much the sheriff of Magic Town, but what about the other half of the book’s title, Faith? The last time readers saw her, she broke off form Angle and headed out to meet Kennedy. What’s her status when your first issue opens?
Ah, yes, Sheriff of Magic Town. This is Angel’s new role as I alluded to before and it does not come together as simply as Angel might hope. (Also, keep in mind we’re being figurative just in case people are worried Angel will be swaggering around in cowboy boots and a tin star on his coat. Ha.)
Faith has gone off for some Faith time. I don’t mean to imply she’s off meditating at a spa. I just mean she’s come a long was as a character and she needs her own space to find out what that means. We see her in California at first — and to other exotic locals later on. (The Moon! No, not really.)
This isn’t your first ride in the Buffyverse when it comes to comics — you also crafted “Spike: A Dark Place” during “Buffy Season 9.” Considering your experience with the character, is there any immediate desire to get your hands back on him?
I always have a desire to get my hands on all the Buffyverse characters because they are awesome. Spike? Sure. Who knows when it will happen if ever, but I don’t think I’d turn down the chance. Writing “A Dark Place” was really the best way to get my feet wet in the Buffyverse — a limited 5-issue run with one of Whedon’s most colorful characters. Lucky me!
You have quite a bit of experience when it comes to writing brooding loners — from Punisher and Wolverine to The Shadow and Spike. What about Angel do you feel sets him apart from some of the other characters you’ve worked on?
Speaking specifically about Season 10, we’ll soon infer that the loner thing is not going to cut it anymore, at least not to the same extent.
What was it like delving into Faith’s character and exploring her relationship with Angel and the world beyond?
I think Faith is one of the top characters from the TV series and the comics. She’s cool. She’s got an edge. And she’s got a past that isn’t what you call some kind of spotless girl scout record. All of that combines for a pretty awesome character if you ask me. As we get a little deeper into the season, we see Faith forced to confront at least one bad decision she made in the past. That’s what is so great about Faith … so much history to mine.
“Angel & Faith: Season 10” also reunites you with “X-Men” penciler Will Conrad. What about Will’s work do you think makes him the best artist to bring your story to life?
His Angel is spot on and his Faith looks great too. [Scott] Allie made an awesome choice, and since I’ve worked with Will before there’s an automatic comfort level.
Beyond Angel and Faith, which characters in or aspects of the Buffyverse are you most excited to explore as the series progresses?
The big stuff. These characters inhabit a world in which magic works in a certain way … or used to. Change the magic and it changes the world — or does it — or something else? Cool things are afoot in the Buffyverse!
“Angel & Faith: Season 10” #1 hits stores in April